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Off-Duty Officer Rescues Woman From Car Explosion, Fire

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- A woman remains in the hospital with serious burns after an explosion and an intense car fire early Tuesday morning that also claimed the life of her dog.

Lindsey Weller, 20, of Franklin Township, posted a picture of her new puppy Alpha on Facebook last month. But today, Weller is in the hospital with burns to her face and hands.

Alpha was killed in the fire.

Officials say around 1:30 a.m. an explosion rocked South Hazen Street where Weller lives.

Franklin Township Police Chief Rudy Harkins said, "This was a volatile explosion with car parts scattered throughout the neighborhood, up to 100 feet away."

Police say Weller was sitting in the back of the car with her husky when the vehicle blew up.

Weller was only able to escape the fire because an off-duty police officer heard the explosion, ran outside and pulled her from the fiery vehicle to safety.

Chief Harkins said that officer does not want to be identified.

"He was asleep, he heard the explosion and ran outside. It was strong enough it knocked pictures off the inside of his walls," Chief Harkins said.

Police say they are still trying to determine what caused the explosion.

Police know it didn't involve the gas tank, but are exploring the possibility that there was a gas can inside of the car and the fire may have been ignited by either spilled gasoline or fumes.

Meanwhile, the off-duty police officer who came to Weller's rescue is being hailed a hero.

"I would have to think, if it wasn't for him the victim may have perished in the explosion," said Chief Harkins.

Police hope to interview Weller about the explosion later tonight.

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